By UCLA-USC Long Term Care Gerontology Center QUESTION: Are senior citizens aware that if a resident of one state who receives a pension originating in that state moves to another state, that pension could be taxed by both the originating state and the new resident state providing the new state has such a tax? I heard there is legislation in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives to eliminate this crazy situation, but is it moving and what can we do about it?
ANSWER: The tax you are referring to is called a source tax - a levy imposed by a state on its ex-residents. The tax applies to income earned or received from within the state's borders. A person must pay the source tax on top of any income tax owed to his or her new resident state. Thus, two states may tax all or a portion of the person's income.Legislation was introduced in the Senate and House of Representatives in 1989 to eliminate source taxes. According to Bill Walsh, staff member of the House Select Committee on Aging, this 1989 legislation stayed in the House Subcommittee on Economics and Commercial Law.
The bill was reintroduced this year in the House Judiciary Committee on Jan. 3 by Nevada Rep. Barbara Vucanovich, the original sponsor. Currently, there are 43 co-sponsors. Simply stated the bill says, "No state may impose an income tax on the pension income of individuals who are not residents or domiciliaries of that state."
A companion bill was introduced in the Senate Finance Committee by Nevada Sens. Richard Bryan and Harry Reid.
According to William Hoffman, president of "RESIST of Nevada" (Retirees to Eliminate State Income Source Tax), "Less than a dozen states currently impose a source tax, but about 40 states have legislation on their books and could implement the tax at any time." For more information write to RESIST, 2440 Ash Canyon Rd., Carson City, NV 89703.
To support these bills, write your congressional representatives and/
or Rep. Barbara F. Vucanovich, Cannon House Office Building, Room 206, Washington, DC 20515; Sen. Harry Reid and Sen. Richard Bryan at Senate Hart Office Building, Washington, DC 20515.
QUESTION: My 65th birthday is just around the corner. All I want for my birthday is a face lift. I'd like to know if I am too old, what results I could expect, how to find a doctor who would be truthful with me, and what it might cost.
ANSWER: You are never too old to enhance your appearance. Figures compiled in 1988 reveal that face-lift surgery increased 24 percent since 1981, and 61 percent of these face lifts were performed on people over age 50. A successful face lift, or rhytidectomy, can reduce and sometimes eliminate wrinkles or sagging skin on the face and neck. The degree of improvement is based less on age than on the condition of one's skin and will be determined by such factors as heredity, bone structure, skin characteristics and personal habits such as sun exposure, alcohol intake, smoking and nutrition.
Today, many types of doctors perform plastic surgery. However, not all of them have the same amount of training. Plastic surgery should be performed only by doctors certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS). This assures you that the doctor has completed formal training and is qualified to perform this type of surgery.
The American Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons (ASPRS) represents more than 4,000 plastic surgeons who are board certified by ABPS. For free information and referrals in your area, call their toll-free hotline, (800) 635-0635, or ask your family doctor for recommendations.
Visit several plastic surgeons for an initial consultation. Compare fees, opinions on the type of surgery you should have, what you can realistically expect to look like after the surgery, the surgeon's thoroughness in answering your questions and explaining the risks. You may be considered high risk if you have high blood pressure, cardiac disease, uncontrolled diabetes or kidney disease.
According to 1988 ASPRS figures, doctors' fees for face-lift surgery ranged from $2,500 to $5,800. Total costs could be as high as $10,000 depending on the complexity of the operation and whether surgery is performed in the doctor's office, a clinic or a hospital. Many plastic surgeons require payment in advance because most health-insurance carriers, including Medicare, will not pay for elective cosmetic surgery.
Send questions about growing older to On Aging, P.O. Box 84256, Los Angeles, CA 90073. Questions of general interest will be answered in the column; individual answers cannot be provided.